U.S. House & Senate Pass ‘Stop-Gap’ Spending Bill

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Members of the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday passed a continuing resolution to fund the government through December after the bill, H.R. 5305, was passed by the U.S. Senate earlier in the day. The funding measure will now go to President Biden for final approval. The House passed the bill with a vote of 254-175. Earlier, the Senate voted 65-35 to advance the watered-down bill to prevent a midnight fiscal deadline.

Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) voted against the measure because it includes $6.3 billion in federal spending that connects disaster relief with Afghan evacuee benefits. News broke earlier this week that as many as 10,000 evacuees from Afghanistan may have entered the U.S. without proper vetting. At least one refugee was returned after officials discovered the individual was a convicted rapist who had been previously deported.

“The legislation I voted against today will make America less safe,” Cruz said in a statement. “As we know, President Biden and his administration failed to vet tens of thousands of evacuees that it brought into the United States and explicitly confirmed they facilitated the trafficking of child brides and the travel of evacuees they later linked to security threats.”

Democrats managed to advance the measure after removing funding to aid Israel through its “Iron Dome” missile defense system, a step that Cruz said was “turning our backs on an ally.”

House Appropriations Committee Chair Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) said in a statement that the inclusion of funding for the Israeli system was an “anomaly” that was corrected.

“Let me be clear: The United States must fully live up to our commitments to our friend and our ally Israel,” added DeLauro.

De Lauro continued, “To that end, Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Chair Betty McCollum and I have committed to including additional funding in the final bipartisan and bicameral fiscal year 2022 Defense Appropriations bill. Let me also remind you that for fiscal year 2021, there is $500 million for Israeli cooperative programs. That continues. The only thing that changes is that we are moving (sic) an anomaly.”

The bill that passed, known as the Extending Government Spending and Emergency Assistance Act, further includes what could amount to billions in federal aid for resettling refugees from Afghanistan.

The portion of the act relating to emergency assistance promises to provide Texas with fiscal help to alleviate ongoing problems from hurricane damage. According to the House Appropriations Committee, the funding measure includes $28.6 billion to address damages from hurricanes, wildfires, drought, and other “effects of climate change.”

The resolution secures $1.2 trillion in spending but has been separated from the larger spending bill pushed by the Biden Administration. Senate Democrats have not announced whether they will introduce the measure before the end of business Thursday, the last day of the fiscal year.

It has been reported in the news this week that the Progressive wing of the Democrat party has threatened to scuttle the massive Infrastructure bill if specific demands for social safety spending aren’t met in the final bill.

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